Canary Girls
i.m ‘The Canary Girls’ of Munition Factories 1914-1918

No machine had ever felt the plumage of a girl.
No girl had ever flown inside the cabin of a crane
and worked it.

News broke swift – fields of houses emptied.
Whole factories beating deft with women’s wings.

Every flock had tools to ply:
some hammered, quick as beaks; others preened steel
or weighed and measured, nursing bombs
with a mother’s eye.

New girls hatched in night shifts –
faces bright as yolk from packing shells with TNT.

Feathers erupted – streaks of fire through skin.
Some girls burned, blew away.